Aspen’s Ryerson stands tall, but Summit boys lacrosse prevails
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – Had Daniel Ryerson not been in goal, visiting Summit likely would have cruised to a lopsided win in Wednesday’s lacrosse game on the turf at Aspen High School.
Instead, the Tigers found themselves clinging to a slim lead in the fourth quarter after the Skiers goalkeeper turned away 17 shots – five in the game’s first five-plus minutes alone. Aspen penalties spoiled Ryerson’s banner day, however, as Summit scored its final two goals on man-up advantages and held on for a 5-3 win, improving to 8-2.
“It’s rare for lacrosse goalies to stop one-on-one shots with another player. Daniel must’ve made eight,” Skiers head coach Mike Goerne said. “He was using everything to save the ball.”
“He’s the best we’ve seen all year,” Tigers head coach Michael O’Neill added. “They were all big saves, they weren’t from the outside.”
Ryerson was pelted with shots from all angles during the opening minutes as Summit controlled possession and flooded the Aspen zone. The pressure produced a score with 8:42 remaining, when Michael Daniels made an acrobatic move in the middle and went low for the goal.
The Skiers twice battled back to square the match during a physical and often contentious first half in which verbal barbs and taunts were hurled seemingly as often as shots.
After Aspen methodically passed the ball around the perimeter of the Tigers defense, Bo Writer opted to take on two defenders hovering by the near post with 3:40 to play in the first quarter. He rose and fired a shot that slipped past first-year Summit goalkeeper Brady Sandsmark.
With the wind howling in the second quarter – cinder blocks were used to anchor the goals – Brandon Major put the Tigers back in front with the first of his three goals. He made a sharp cut to shake a defender, a teammate hit him in stride and Major launched a low liner that clipped the net 10:11 before the half.
Eight minutes later, Carl Spiroff converted from nearly 15 yards out to knot things at two heading to the break.
“I couldn’t have asked for more hustle, more heart, more cooperation and more teamwork,” Goerne said. “I’m so proud of the kids and the way they came out and played off of Ex-Ed and two practices. … We just didn’t find the back of the net.”
Major gave Summit some rare breathing room in the second half. He scored twice in a two-minute span midway through the third quarter, stretching the lead to 4-2 and securing his first hat trick.
“I was just ready to go today,” Major said. “I knew this was a big game for us.”
Nicky Fuller made a nice cut, controlled a well-timed feed from Mike Aresty and scored with nine minutes remaining in the contest. Momentum shifted, however, after the Skiers were whistled for a penalty about three minutes later.
With 10 seconds remaining on a man-up advantage, Sam Dudick turned and fired a shot from a tough angle that somehow found the net – surprising both him and his Tigers teammates.
Aspen controlled possession for extended stretches in the waning minutes, but struggled mightily to find creases in the patchwork Summit defense, which had a midfielder fill in on the back line because of suspensions and other team-related issues.
“We were kind of undermanned, but our guys toughed it out and we were lucky,” O’Neill said. “Our goalie came up really big, too.
“If we played these guys 10 times, it would probably be 5-5. We just happened to come out on top today.”
All hopes of a Skiers rally were effectively crushed after a costly turnover with about 40 seconds to play.
“It’s really nice to drive four hours and come away with a win,” Major said. “You always have to work hard when you play them. … Their goalie was tough. He made some saves I haven’t seen all year, even when we’ve played teams in Denver.”
Aspen will look to rebound Friday when they host Grand Junction at 4 p.m. in the second of five games in an eight-day stretch.
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